Will Newcastle Lose Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote & Hatem Ben Arfa Over Wonga Shirt Sponsorship Deal?

Chris Wright

10th, October 2012


By Chris Wright

There’s a theory being put forward in some quarters (it was mostly flippantly pointed out on Twitter when the deal was announced) that Newcastle may lose devout Muslim quartet Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote and Hatem Ben Arfa after signing a shirt sponsorship deal that may just infringe Sharia law.

Newcastle announced yesterday that the club have concluded a £multi-million deal with payday loan company Wonga, though there have been suggestions that Ba, Cisse, Tiote and Ben Arfa may be averse to wearing the logo of a company that profit from money lending – a practice prohibited by Sharia law (for example, interest is not paid on Islamic bank accounts or added to mortgages on Islamic households) – and may even boycott the club as a result.

The assistant secretary general of the British Muslim Council, Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, has been canvassed for his opinion, telling the Independent:

“There are two aspects to this. We have the rulings of the religious law and we have the individual’s choice and decision on how they want to follow or not follow that rule.

“The idea is to protect the vulnerable and the needy from exploitation by the rich and powerful. When they are lending and are charging large amounts of interest, it means the poor will have short-term benefit from the loan but long-term difficulty in paying it back because the rate of interest is not something they can keep up with.

“The Islamic system is based on a non-interest-based system of transaction.”

Practicing Muslim Freddie Kanoute took a stand at Seville and refused to carry the logo of betting firm 888.com on his shirt. Kanoute was allowed to wear a blank shirt during games, but agreed to wearing the logo during training sessions as Allah was apparently okay with that.

Anyway, it is a possible solution that Mogra is backing:

“Freddie was allowed to wear a top without the 888.com and that is a reasonable request to be made by the player.

“Assuming all four are on the pitch at the same time, if you have seven out of 11 (with advertising on their shirts) you have sufficient coverage. It is not asking too much, I believe.”

You may have noticed that none of Newcastle’s Muslim players have actually been consulted yet, and that all of the outrage is being conducted on their behalves. Hey ho.

Will Newcastle lose Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote and Hatem Ben Arfa over their Wonga shirt deal? No, probably not. Will they have to get four blank shirts printed up? Possibly.

Posted in Newcastle Utd, Transfers & Rumours

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  1. Graham says:

    Not that they already wear a Barclays patch in a Barclays sponsored league, or have previously worn Northern Rock and presently Virgin Money as the sponsors on their kits.

    It’s all a load of tosh, really. The twatty journos are finally saying something because Wonga are a bunch of loan-sharking twats…you know? #BUNCHOFTWATS !

  2. itchybutt says:

    Graham, exactly what I was going to point it. utter tosh this is, they play in the BARCLAYS premier league, a bank that profits from lending!

  3. Mr. Chopper says:

    Of the risk of this descending into a Maily Dale comments section, shouldn’t this have come up before? If players are bound somehow by Sharia Law (by which I mean not legally), surely most football deals would fall foul… The profession’s riddled with dodgy dealings.

    • Chris says:

      @ Mr. Chopper: Exactly. I think it started with a couple of people thinking aloud on Twitter yesterday and then some of the papers ran with it this morning. If Muslim footballers were bound that strictly by Sharia law, they pretty much wouldn’t be able to play anywhere these days.

  4. Ross says:

    #Bunchoftwats1 gotta love it.
    As for Freddy Kanoute, he initially took a stance against the 888 carry on but did actually wear the shirt with sponsor in la liga; my friend google confirms this to be the case.

  5. Khairo says:

    IF (and that’s a big IF) the players object to wearing that, NUFC would have to print some blank shirts, considering those 4 are really the star of the team…if, however it’s “Vernon Anita” that’s complaining, I’d imagine the club will tell him to just shut it!

  6. Al says:

    If the players did take a stand (which I doubt they will) there is a certain amount of irony in a player paid 50k plus per week having a moral position on earning interest

  7. Ze Roberto says:

    Yes Kanoute eventually wore the shirt but, there was a speacial agreement that 888 would have to make a sizable donation to a charity of his choice.

  8. Rashaad says:

    LOL. Yes the topic’s pretty shallow. Just to clarify, from Sharia point of view, both Wonga & Virgin Money are NOT Sharia-compliant, because both make money from interest-based lending activity (no matter at what rate). So if the 4 players are OK with with Virgin Money, I don’t see why they should not be OK with Wonga. UNLESS, if what they have problem with is the reportedly exuberant interest rate of Wonga. If that’s the case, it’s not exclusively an Islamic problem, but the general society :)
    I can also argue about Muslims playing in a Barclays-sponsored league (clue: not working FOR Barclays) or wearing a Barclays badge (clue: tolerance & seeing the bigger picture), but I don’t want to ruin the mood by being all too analytic in this wonderful non-Sharia blog that I routinely visit :)
    @Al: No irony. Islam encourages its followers to be wealthy, as long as they earn it justly, honestly, ethically, and not in ways prohibited it. Islam makes it mandatory to routinely donate a (minimum) 2.5% out of your income to the less-privileged segment of the society (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zakāt). So theoretically the richer you are, the more poor people you can help.
    Sorrrryyy if my comment’s too long ;P

  9. Mr. Chopper says:

    Cheers, Rashaad. I think it’s fair to say that the majority of us on here have fuck-all knowledge of the subject, so it’s really great of you to give us a basic overview of what any of this means.

  10. syed ahmed says:

    ben arfa bettttttter then messi n ronaldo

  11. Andy says:

    daily mail = fairy tales for eejits

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